What are the different types of eating disorders?

Eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder, are serious, potentially life-threatening illnesses that are becoming increasingly common in children and adolescents. In young patients, parents are the first line of defense, and play a vitally important role in helping educate young people about eating disorders, and preventing a high-risk behavior from turning into a serious condition requiring medical and psychological attention.

Anorexia nervosa (restricting type; binge eating/purging type)

  • Refusal to maintain healthy body weight
  • Intense fear of gaining weight
  • Distorted body image

Bulimia nervosa (purging type; non-purging type)

  • Eating large amounts of food in short periods of time
  • Sense of lack of control during eating episode
  • Use of compensatory behaviors to prevent weight gain (vomiting, fasting, laxative abuse, diet pill abuse, diuretics abuse, exercise)

Binge eating disorder

  • Eating large amounts of food in short periods of time
  • Sense of lack of control during eating episode
  • No use of compensatory behaviors following binge episodes
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The tips in this section have been provided by Elizabeth Easton, PsyD, Clinical Director of Child and Adolescent Services at the Eating Recovery Center in Denver, CO.

For more information about the Eating Recovery Center, check out the video below, or visit them online at www.eatingrecoverycenter.com.